Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Second Report

Annex 122

Letter to Suzanne Hilliard from the Chairman of the Committee on Standards and Privileges

At the last meeting of the Committee on Standards and Privileges the Commissioner reported to us that you had not provided her with certain information she had requested to assist her with one of her current inquiries. The Commissioner has told us that she is unable to conclude her inquiry without considering this information from you.

The Commissioner needs to see certain parts of your telephone accounts for the period in question (only those parts which are strictly relevant to her inquiry) in order to confirm the evidence you have already given. The Commissioner has reported to us that on 7 April you had undertaken to provide her with copies of the relevant parts of the accounts, but that you had subsequently said that you were unable to do so. If the relevant extracts are still not available, the Commissioner can obtain them herself on your behalf, but in order to do so she needs certain information from you to pass to the telephone company so that the account can be identified. The information she needs for this purpose is your telephone number; the name of the telephone account holder; the name of the telephone company; and your authorisation for the Commissioner to acquire copies of the relevant parts of the account from the telephone company. I should emphasise that this information will be used only for the purpose of obtaining extracts which are strictly relevant to the Commissioner`s inquiry.

We were concerned to hear that this matter was still outstanding. We expect people who are in a position to assist the Commissioner`s inquiries to co-operate fully and to make available any relevant information they may have. It is in everyone`s interests, including the Member who is the subject of the complaint, that this matter should be resolved.

The House has given the Committee certain powers to compel witnesses to provide information. We would prefer not to use those powers unless it was necessary to do so to enable the Commissioner to carry out the job the House has appointed her to do. I very much hope, therefore, that you will arrange to provide the Commissioner with the information by return.

26 June 2000

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